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Bea Alonzo: Good location helped our cafe amid pandemic

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BEA ALONZO is grateful that her cafe business, Dean and Deluca, is back on track after the challenges she and her partners endured at the start of the coronavirus pandemic.

The actress and her business partners opened her first branch of Dean and Deluca cafe in November 2019, just four months before the coronavirus pandemic hit the Philippines and put the country on lockdown. The 33-year-old ABS-CBN actress revealed they had bigger plans for their cafe business, but they put these plans on hold because of the pandemic.

"Siyempre nung una heartbreaking iyan kasi hindi lang iyan ang ibubukas namin. Marami pa iyan but then nga, the pandemic happened. Nung umpisa kasi, November kami nag-soft opening, it was doing so well. Laging may pila sa labas ng Dean and Deluca. And then siyempre, nag-lockdown 'tapos naapektuhan kami. Dahil ano lang kami, franchise lang kami, mas malakas sa amin kung magda-dine in kesa delivery po, di ba? Siyempre may food cost iyan."

When the quarantine protocols were loosened, Bea's cafe also adjusted its operations and started doing pick-ups and deliveries. But there was also a time when Bea thought their business might not survive.

"Nung time na iyon, sa totoo lang, naano ako, nalungkot ako. Akala ko ito na iyong last time o baka magsara kami kasi sunud-sunod iyong mga restaurants na nagsasara. "But thank God, ngayon parang bumabalik na siya. May pila na ulit sa labas ng Dean & Deluca."

One of the things that really helped her business get back on track was its location. Bea's cafe is located at Scout Rallos St. corner Scout Tuazon Street in Tomas Morato, Quezon City. Bea admitted that she initially thought their location would be the reason why their business won't work. But it's actually the one people preferred for the "new normal."

She said, "Iyong location kasi namin, at first dun kami kinakabahan kasi wala kami sa mall 'tapos medyo tago iyong place namin. At first, iyon iyong akala namin magiging dahilan bakit hindi siya magwo-work, ganyan. We were skeptical about the place. But one of our partners kasi, siya iyong owner ng building so we opted to just go there. And then, ang nangyari, naging blessing pa pala na wala kami sa loob ng mall. Because now, people are looking for a place where hindi siya masyado daanan ng maraming tao, iyong sasadyain mo. So now, iyong akala naming hindi magpapa-work sa business, actually became a blessing pa to us ngayong nagkaroon ng pandemic."

Now, Bea said she and her business partners are planning to grow their cafe business.

Without revealing too much, Bea said, "And we’re actually, hindi ko na lang muna ishe-share, pero may future plans kami sa business. We might expand so I’ll announce that in the future, but there are plans."

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Rachelle Ann Go and husband Martin Spies are "ready" for their bundle of joy. The singer-musical star's pregnancy has been "pretty easy" and she hopes her delivery will be just as easy. Rachelle Ann is happy to report that her pregnancy "has been pretty easy. Straightforward."

The singer says, "I'm very grateful dahil during my first trimester wala akong paglilihi or symptoms. Hindi ako nahihilo, hindi rin naman ako masyadong sensitive sa sense of smell. Di ba iyong iba, maraming sensitive? Ako, parang normal lang talaga."

Although, she notes quite a change in her appetite, "Parang I ate everything, hindi ako masyado mapili. Iyon lang, matakaw ako. Lahat masarap sa panlasa ko. That's the best part. It's been great."

Though she has not been getting much sleep, she brushes it aside as her body's way of preparing her for motherhood, with her baby in the womb keeping her company every night. She exclaims, "Ang kulit! Sipa siya nang sipa every single night. As in parang may boxing match sa loob. I love it. I love feeling the kicks. Sometimes it's not just kicks, it's like waves! I just can't wait to meet our little angel."

Rachelle Ann is in her third trimester of pregnancy, and a midwife has been checking on the development of her baby "every three weeks." So far, so good, according to her, "Thank God, okay naman. Normal naman lahat. Hopefully, tuloy-tuloy na iyan."

However, uncertain about how her childbirth will turn out a few weeks from now, Rachelle Ann has been feeling nervous. She says, "I'm praying for a natural birth. I'm praying na, because my pregnancy [has] been so, so smooth and easy these past few months, sana talaga, Lord! Sana, guys, pray for me na swabe. I know na maraming nagsasabi na ang first pregnancy ay mahirap at mahaba ang labor, but I believe na very smooth. Gusto ko iyong isa or dalawang push nandiyan na si baby. Baby is out!"

She admits preparing herself for the worst even when the idea of a major operation terrifies her, "I don't know. It's really scary." To calm down, Rachelle Ann has convinced herself to just let things happen and to find strength in the thought that giving birth is natural to women.

She says, "I don't want to focus on one thing kasi, siyempre, kapag dumating ka na doon sa moment na iyon 'tapos you don't get what you want, sometimes I feel like it's stressful. So now, I'm just like whatever is going to happen, let it be. I know my body will cooperate and women, us women, we are created to do this and give birth. I think we are ready. I think puso na lang namin ang kailangan i-ready. We have to prepare ourselves mentally, emotionally, spiritually, physically. And we're trying to research as much as we can. Read things, watch videos about pregnancy and stuff. Please pray for us."

London, where Rachelle Ann and husband Martin Spies currently live, is experiencing its third lockdown with the emergence of the new coronavirus variant, called the "UK variant."

This development is more a blessing to Rachelle Ann than a problem because it means more time with Martin, who now works from home.

She expresses, "Ang saya kasi marami kaming quality time na kaming dalawa lang before the baby arrives. I know it's such a crazy time and season, but I'm just grateful and thankful that the husband is here with me. And, let's see, baka kung hanggang sa manganak ako, lockdown pa rin. At least nandito si Martin sa bahay." Londoners are expecting an update on the lockdown, to lift or to extend, on February 22, 2021.


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